People power and chocolate loans

Everywhere I look all I see are good places to start an organic vegan restaurant/cafe/drinks/ice cream bar. One is even right next to an organic grocery store in a high end food market (aka building filled with only restaurants, cafes, ice cream and a grocery store – all slightly expensive). I’d do it if I had the know-how. Instead I found a similar minded person and helped fund them instead.

Choquiero is an impressive vegan chocolate store that has popped up recently in Cali, USA. By store I mean a zealous vegan chocolatier named Ariel who has successfully sold chocolates for the past few months and has the intent to make it brick n mortar (shopfront) style. He needs a kiva-loan. Currently at 30% funded he has 5 days to go before his loan expires. Looking at the pics of his chocolates, and knowing first hand kiva lenders pay you back, I’m down with giving him some moolah. Check him out:, and if you get some of his chocolates eat one for me. I’ll try to get over there sometime myself but in the meantime let me live vicariously through you, oh taster of chocolates. 

For those who don’t know kiva is a web based loans system allowing everyday persons to lend money to each other interest free, removing the need for a banking institutions involvement. This process has been highly successful as people from all over the world can be lender and/or lendee to anyone else anywhere in the world. To me, knowing the name and face and business my money is being lent to, knowing that they know my name and face, and personally loaning a person money (with the assistance of the internet) feels good. A bank impersonally lending my money along with countless others (or creating money out of thin air) to any cause it determines profitable for itself with heavy interest charges and unpleasant tactics for money retrieval is on the way out thanks to websites like Kiva. I like that.   

I wonder if Ariel could and would mail his chocolates to Australia.  

To empowering the people and to chocolate,

Summer Tay.


Day 151: 3.14 For Brunch (Because I’m Aussie)

So it’s been a while. I promised I would be back the moment I had something intelligent to say, and unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be happening, so here I am, babbling. I’m still going to write a post though, so if you’re down for some mind numbingly unintelligent chatter to get you through another work day then here goes:

Do you remember the first time you bought a blender, or that first kitchen appliance you bought and people said “pah, you’ll use it once or twice, then it’ll sit there collecting dust”? But you knew better. Such excitement and dedication as yours never dwindles or dies. Cut to present day and dang if they were not at least half right.

I have not used the blender in weeks, not counting yesterday’s milkshake. The blender I confess, it makes a lot of mess. Especially when I make my beloved avo pesto. There is a lot of sticky stuck avo pesto on the blender base and blades every time. The amount of wastage brings tears to the eyes, figuratively speaking. I honestly thought people who complained about cleaning the appliances where just lazy, non-enthusiastic people who like to whinge about doing anything. To all of those people, I still think that way, however I acknowledge that I am also right there with you. Anything that takes more than 2 seconds to clean well is indeed slightly annoying.

I have yet to unpack the juicer since the move 3 months ago. This is because at first it took a while to find my official juicer cleaner, the cleaner thingy dedicated purely to cleaning my juicer immediately after each use and nothing else. Once that was found, I had to find the juicer. Once that was found, I had to go out. When I came home, poof! juicer had disappeared again. Apparently the spot I had put it in was a mess, it was in the way and it had to be moved to a non-memorised location. Ah, the joys of housemates. Probably easily findable, but I’m not sure where my official juicer cleaner has gotten to now. Not sure I want to know…

I love vegan pies. The only vegan pie to my knowledge is this:


Buying them from Coles costs about the same as a regular pie from a moderately priced bakery, but you get to cook it yourself. Knowing my cooking prowess, many are probably chuckling “burn it yourself you mean”. But no, I have cooked 2 of them thus far and can honestly say that burning them seems almost as impossible as a Tom Cruise movie being good. Massive props to the company for this please pass your pie making knowledge to the rest of the world.
The inside is mushroom and weird gravy stuffs. Now with 10% more mushy gravy stuffs! Considering how much they have now, they really didn’t make much of a 3.14 before. Huzzah for perfectly timed new product trying!

My best friend, who I visit often, is now eating the exact same cereal I was eating. Key word: was. The whole point of a best friend is to have different foods when you get sick of your own kitchen without the hassle of busy restaurants and expensive menus. Does he not know his purpose in (my) life? He is ruining my brunch!

Now back to the juice. The saddest part in all this is that packaged juice now tastes like coke did after not drinking it for ages. It tasted like why the hell would anyone drink this? I had spoiled myself with my fresh juices of yester-days. So be warned, once you try fresh juice, it will be very difficult to go back. And I’m not just talking the cheap, on the warm shelf juice either, I’m talking the supposed 100% fresh juice on the cold shelf with the pulp still in it and the $5+/2L price tag.. So if the fancy branded fresh grocery store juice is supposed to be good for you, why does it taste so bleh in comparison? Hmmmm…

Well I hope you enjoyed my random rant for today. Hopefully I’ll be back soon with something more substantial to say but for now, hooray! Rejoice for I am back (again and hopefully for good).

Summer Tay.

Day 115: The Day I Officially Stop Doing This Daily

For the second time in a row I have been AWOL from my beloved blog and from you. The reason why is the last blog I wrote was long, and it was factual, it was funny, it was good, it was deleted and replaced with a draft for a different piece when I pressed publish. I was not amused, and I did not have the time to re-write. Several days later (aka now) I have officially decided that I don’t want to this every day anymore.

Well I do, but, I have found one personal issue with doing so – the blog feels rushed. Not enough time in the day to properly research a subject, make sure it’s funny and informative and proofread before posting. It is mainly for this reason but also those above that I am only going to post when I have something truly worthy of your gorgeous, intelligent eyes to read. I will also be doing posts of just pictures on occasion. This may lead to more than one post a day. It’ll be so worth it, if I may say so myself.

Brace yourself, awesome posts are coming.

Summer Tay.

In other news, I just found out there are recipes for making tofu taste like real bacon. Trying really hard not to get my hopes up but oh dear holy angels who art on heaven let it be true. (Damn I miss bacon. And cheese. Vegan Cheesy Bacon I will find a way and I will make you and you shall be delicious.)

Day 108: When at War (D106, D107)

Hello my dear readers! No I have not forgotten you, I have simply been internet deprived for several days. How I survived I do not know.

The reason why I was internet deprived, I went to war. It was harrowing. There were many casualties and I for one got hit in several places. Mostly the legs, a fair few to the back, and whoever shot me on the butt 3 times I don’t know who you are, but I will find you, and I will kill you. I’m still walking like Vince McMahon a little bit.

Never-the-less, my full day introduction to paintball was wonderful. I learnt that war is fun, that McDs offer English muffins with jam for breakfast and that this is the only vegan option around at7.30 in the am and that sometimes, on occasion, I can be bad-ass.
Being a derp I just assumed there would be a canteen with chips on offer for a vegan lunch. Nope, vegetarian pizza for $10 or bring your own. My friends brought criskets, so I snacked on that. For those of who don’t know what a *crisket is it is air solidified into a thin rectangular shape. Literally. I highly recommend if you’re on a strict anorexic diet.

Obviously all this took place in the bush in the middle of nowhere and no reception. Once back in civilization you’d think the internet would work on my phone. It did not. I have had no internet for several days and unfortunately no way to write daily. To make up for it, I will make extra posts during the next week to make up quota. There will be adorable pictures.

To playing war and catch up,

Summer Tay.

*A crisket is a cracker. I assume we were meant to put things on top of it to give it flavour, but stuff it, plain crisket air ftw!

P.S. The bruises, oh gosh the bruises. I can barely move my legs. I was told going vegan there would be no bruises. It was a lie 😦

Day 105: Ethical Bodies / The Body Shop

It’s interesting how marketing works. I for one have always wondered at it’s marvels. It entertains, it informs, it moves you at your core, it changes your mood, makes your decisions by telling you whats cool and whats appropriate. It tells you who the company is and what it stands for. It often lies.

The Body Shop. Known for it’s ethical practice of not using animal testing. The brand has grown very strong piggy-backing off the belief that buying the body shop products is a step forward for animal rights. Did you know that they use lanolin in their products? The sheep possibly aren’t too happy with that. The brushes they sell are made of animal hair. so in other words, their pro animals stance is a bit of a lie. The glossy “we ❤ animals” brand got a little muddier when The Body Shop was bought out by animal testing, dead animal using company L’oreal (which they apparently don’t do anymore). Consumers seem to be wising up.

Thankfully, no woman ever actually uses this stuff – it’s just the stuff we buy each other when we have no idea what else to get. Guess it’s time to start getting a  bit more creative with the gift giving. Anyone for flowers? Maybe some chocolate? I hear Dusk has some nice candles? (I’m a feminist!).

If you’re definitely in the mood for some body products, Lush appear to have the upper hand. Their stock is animal cruelty free, it’s predominately vegan with some vegetarian options, the products have double features (clean the skin, cleans the face, wash the hair, remove dead skin cells, any combo of these and other things), and the vibe is generally nicer there. Their products smell nicer. Just sayin’.

Shame that when buying products we have to do lots of research before buying. First you have their ingredients – is it animal, how they source it, was it ethically produced, is it good for you to use? Then you have their corporate ethics – do they pay staff, do they hire locally, do they follow the law? So many questions to ask that by the time you ask them all you have to wonder is it even possible to live a completely ethical life? Can a consumer purchase every need and some wants without transgressing some form of ethical boundary? We live in a world where to own a mobile phone is to support slave labour and unsafe work practices in third world countries and for jobs to be shipped overseas. How do we navigate this maze of lies and propaganda? The best I can figure out is determine the best strategy for each issue. In some cases, boycotting is practical and effective – people can get their body products from somewhere else so avoiding this company for animal ethical ones would make a point to the industry at large. However no-one can avoid having a mobile phone. Which means sometimes you cannot say that someone supports a bad thing because they own a product that has done bad things. Each ethical dilemma has it’s own solution.

Anyhwo that is my rant for the day. Feel free to fill me in on what your solution would be to fix the ethical dilemmas of the world in the comments below.

To feeling lush,

Summer Tay

Day 104: Hiltl / The Greatest Restaurant On The Planet (Potentially)

Curiosity got the better of me today and I checked out what is the oldest vegan restaurant in the world? The answer I got was the oldest vegetarian one: Hiltl. This restaurant is not only veg friendly, but it has dishes from practically all across the globe, compliments of it’s perfect placement for world leader summits in Zurich. It was it’s popularity with dignitaries from a multitude of countries that has kept it afloat since 1898. This restaurant sounds like the greatest restaurant to ever exist. Even without going vegetarian this concept would be wonderous for other restaurants to take on. The amount of times you go out with a date bunch of friends and no-one can agree on what type of food should be partaken of. One doesn’t like mexican another doesn’t like carveries and one is allergic to fish (at which point I realise my chances at sushi are over).  With this restaurant, no-one has an excuse to say no. Would it be weird to travel to a country just to experience a restaurant with a globes worth of food genres? Is experiencing restaurants the same as going to countries for the wildlife, wild night life, and monuments, or is my excitement just a little weird? How much is a ticket to Zurich this time of year anyways?

Did a search for best veg restaurants on earth. 83 answers and Hiltl doesn’t even feature. Nothing in the entire of Australia either. Not only that, only a few countries feature: USA, England, South Korea and Germany (yet not Hiltl. Hmph). This was slightly disappointing. I still want to go to there.

Plan: find out where all of the vegan (not all vegetarian) restaurants are in Australia. Ensure to eat at every single one of them and write a review. Vegetarian restaurants where vegan ones are scarce/non-existent. Tastiest road trip ever. Whose with me? 😀

To Hiltl,

Summer Tay.

Day 103: Puppy Love

A friends neighbour gave him and his family puppy minding privileges for today and tomorrow. I do not own any pets. I immediately invited myself over. 

The Puppies, Sal and Sop, love me and only me. Sop follows me everywhere. Sal sits and whinges for her mummy at the window for a few minutes, then turns to look at me. I now have 2 dogs by my side. We’re inseparable. My friend is jealous as puck I love it. 

Naturally I use this opportunity to remind him why animals find me so irresistible: I’m vegan. I’m the only vegan in the house, and I’m the only one getting some puppy love. Ergo, people should become vegan, yes?

I’m going to non-dairy milk this for all it’s worth.

Summer Tay.

Day 101: Fatherly Wisdom

So my Dad thinks that vegetarian and vegan are the same thing. He has been telling everyone who asked what a vegan is (yes, people have had to ask) that it is just another word for vegetarian. Hahahahaha, *facedesk*.

Summer Tay.

P.S. I love you dad, you fill my day with wonder and laughter and joy.

P.S.S. If ayone really wants to know the difference between the two, I’d be happy to oblige with a private response. No judgey.

Day 100: The choc mud recipe

Holy wow worst tasting cake I have had in all my life.  It tasted like the ingredients it was made from – oil and sugar. The fact that I made it myself makes it ten times worse. Should have known from the ingredients it would turn out crap, but all the comments were so happy with their product.

Basically, what I learned from this is, only make the fancy cakes with the fancy ingredients.

Lo and behold, my mum thought it was wonderful. She says, as a compliment, that it tastes like the choc mud cakes from Coles and Woolies. Thanks Mum! *shudders*

I feel almost bad for sharing the link to the recipe, but since others seem to like it maybe you – someone of more culinary skill than I – can have a crack at it.

Before frosting, after frosting and about to be eaten.

To grocery store cakes,

Summer Tay